Your schedule is jam packed from the time your alarm goes off in the morning until your head hits the pillow at night. Between school, sports, homework and family time it can be hard to find time for yourself to just unplug and relax. Instead of making your trip to the barn just another thing to mark off your to do list, take the time to unplug with your livestock – we have seven reasons this is a great idea!
- They get you outside: Sun and fresh air naturally elevate your mood and that extra dose of Vitamin D has been found to fight mental conditions such as depression. While outside with your animal, take the time to engage in nature – enjoy a nice breeze, feel the sun on your face, and listen to the wonderful sounds around you – all of these things can be incredibly calming.
- They get you moving: Whether it is walking your lamb or steer or practicing driving your pig, physical activity gives you a natural energy boost and can help your thinking, learning and judgment skills stay sharp. Studies have also shown that animal owners tend to have a more active lifestyle, which translates to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and good brain health.
- They reduce stress: Get out your grooming brush or just spend some time petting or scratching your animal. Rhythmic activity and connecting with your livestock in this way releases oxytocin, the hormone related to stress and anxiety. This naturally reduces blood pressure and lowers cortisol levels leaving you feeling relaxed.
- They offer you a reprieve: Spending time focusing on your livestock takes your thoughts off issues that are plaguing you, like that big test on Friday. Grooming, exercising, or just spending time with your animal are all great ways to be mentally present at the barn and to give your brain some reprieve from your to-do list.
- They’re great listeners: Sometimes you just need to get it all off your chest. You can talk to your livestock about anything – your day, your worries, your goals. Verbally sharing those thoughts that are bogging down your brain can give you the release you need to chill out and de-stress.
- They make you smile: That snout sticking out in the alley or that head hanging over the fence can instantly bring a smile to your face. These moments of joy raise serotonin and dopamine levels, which are nerve transmitters that are associated with calmness and happiness.
- They give you purpose: The time you spend raising your livestock creates a sense of accomplishment, respect and pride in yourself. Being responsible and caring for something other than yourself can be more meaningful than tests aced, points scored and ribbons won. Keep that in mind when your brain is on overload!
How do you take time to unplug with your livestock and give your brain the rejuvenation it needs? Send us pictures and videos of your favorite ways to chill out using the hash tags #surechamp and #stockshowlife.